Radio troubles force Metro officers to ride 2 to a car

LAS VEGAS -- You may have noticed fewer police cars on the streets of Clark County, but according to Metro Police, it doesn't mean there are fewer officers.

After a multi-million dollar radio system failed, the Clark County Sheriff ordered two officers be assigned to work together on patrol at all times.

The new radio system is slowly being integrated. The Enterprise Area Command in the southwest is using it so officers there are back to one a car.

Downtown Area Command is testing it out now. In the meantime, most officers are still working in pairs, meaning two to a car, which slashes patrol cars on streets in the rest of the county in half.

"Every time the radio fails, an officer's life is in danger," Chris Collins with the Las Vegas Police Protective Association said.

An example of the problem happened June 26, when a Metro Police officer tried to make a traffic stop, gunfire was exchanged with the suspect, and the officer used his radio for help.

"The gun fight itself is terrifying," Collins said.

But the system wasn't working.

"What you're expecting to hear is the sirens of 20 police cars come on rushing to your aid. When you don't hear that, you realize in your mind that you're on your own and survival would be up to you," Collins said.

After numerous problems with a radio system, called Desert Sky, which was installed in 2010, the June 26 officer-involved shooting was the final straw.

Sheriff Doug Gillespie ordered that officers work in pairs, meaning two in each patrol car.

"Now that they're doubled up, at the very least, they have one other officer with them and they're not alone should the radio fail to transmit," Officer Jose Hernandez said.

Hernandez said since there are fewer cars responding to calls for help, the wait could be longer.

"Calls will have to be prioritized. Perhaps a report call may take a little bit longer because our officers are going to be busy handling those higher priority calls," Ofc. Hernandez said.

Collins said there is an upside to officers being doubled up.

"It certainly has a de-escalation effect, if you will, for everyone because immediately there are two officers on the scene," he said.

For police, he said most calls require two officers anyway, doubling them up to begin with means no wait for backup.

"Obviously, two officers are safer than one. No matter where they are," Collins said.

According to Metro, the Desert Sky radio system cost $40 million. The department filed a lawsuit against the Harris Corporation, which is the company behind the system, for that cost and other damages.

The new Motorola system Metro is starting to use cost $26 million.


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • Community Calendar
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Connect with 8 News NOW
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Deadly Dust: Asbestos
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Community Pride
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Politics Now
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News